To The Bahamas, Part 2: Eggmont Key to Charlotte Harbor

2012-04-01, 22:30 — just inside Boca Grande Pass into Charlotte Harbor

We set sail this morning at 08:40, weighing anchor and heading south. We got a bit unnerved because the engine was somewhat reluctant to start and then stalled a couple of times at idle. (We’ve decided that it was likely caused by air in the line from when I cleared that last bit of paper towel from the fuel line, because the problem went away and hasn’t come back.)

We motorsailed most of today because the winds have been very light and from exactly behind our stern — perfect conditions for a spinnaker…if we had a spinnaker, and if we knew how to use one. We stopped in at Venice (just popped in through Venice Inlet) to refuel at the Crow’s Nest Marina, where we’ve stayed a couple of times in the past. Picked up just over 50 gallons of diesel for $225…ouch! They’re not giving that stuff away, are they?

After we left Venice around 15:45, we had a lovely beam-to-broad reach in 10-to-15kt winds and thus had a great sail down here. (“Here” is just inside the entrance channel to Charlotte Harbor, tucked into a little cove behind Gasparilla Island.) I did notice during the sail that the bilge pump was going off a bit more than we’d like and, upon investigation, discovered that the prop shaft packing gland was dripping much faster than it should. Another job for us to do soon…replace the packing. (I’ll have to do it while the boat’s in the water, so I hope the flow of water isn’t too exciting while I’m doing it!)

We’re just a couple of miles in through the inlet, anchored a little off Gasparilla Island, in very calm waters. Now, for some dinner and a good night’s sleep. We’ll sail through the night tomorrow on our way to Key West.

By the time we got here, it was fairly obvious that our planned April 4 arrival in Miami to meet Frank Pellow was in serious jeopardy, so we phoned Frank to suggest that he get a hotel room unless we call him fairly soon after his flight arrives. Frank agreed and said for us not to worry about being a day late. (“Sailing and calendars are not compatible,” we’ve been told. Word!)

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